Creator of Pink Shirt Day hopes to expand idea in more countries


VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s come to be recognized as an international symbol against bullying.  Whether you’re at school or at work today, expect to see plenty of pink shirts today marking Pink Shirt Day.

The idea came about at a high school in Nova Scotia eight years ago.  Travis Price was in grade 12 back then and a student three years younger was being bullied on the first day of school simply for wearing a pink shirt, and that didn’t sit well with Price and his friend David Shepherd.

They went out that night, bought the only pink shirts they could find — 75 women’s tank tops — and took to social media to encourage as many of their classmates as possible to wear the colour the next day.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen.  We didn’t know if we’d be the only two in pink or if everybody would be in pink.  We show up the next day, we were a school of 1,000 kids, and about 850 kids showed up that day wearing pink, and Pink Shirt Day was born just from that simple act of kindness,” Price explains.

He could see a weight lifted off the shoulders of that bullied student and adds Pink Shirt Day is now marked by more than six million people in more than a dozen countries around the world.

“It’s crazy, it blows my mind every day.  I get these little random phone calls and they’ll be like, ‘Oh hey, we’re having Pink Shirt Day today in Panama, are you wearing pink?  And it’s like, sure, I guess!’  It’s incredible to see just how far it has gone, how far it has spread, and the amount of kids that are getting behind this.”

Price adds they’re getting ready to expand the initiative in other countries.

“I never thought that this would be my life, that this is what I’d be doing, but here I am and I just hope that I’m able to continue to inspire kids, and hopefully the next Travis Price will come along before too long, and I’ll be able to hang up the pink shirt, I guess if you will, and these kids can keep doing it.  I think the message is so valuable coming from a youth.”

He doesn’t think the day has become too big or too corporate.

“Pink Day was originally designed to be an awareness campaign and that’s all it is.  We want people to be aware, we want people to know that when they rock that pink shirt, whether it’s with a corporation, whether it’s within a school, they’re standing up for one another.  Because bullying happens in the workplace as well, so it’s great that these companies — I see that they’re willing to take the step to say, ‘You know what?  Maybe we do have a bully problem within our workplace and this is how we want to address it, through awareness as well.'”

“I don’t think it’s too big, it’s definitely organic now, with sports teams and companies jumping on board.  But no, I think where it’s at right now I think it’s amazing.  I think people have done a really good job of contacting me and asking me and saying, ‘What’s your vision of this?’  How do you want this to be?’  And when I’m able to tell them, they’re able to listen and say, ‘OK.  We’re going to try to keep to that same vision.'”

Price speaks to students regularly, and looks forward to watching the Pink Shirt Day continue to grow.  He would like to do family consultations and work with government on how to help kids with engagement, mental health, and bullying.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today